GIFTS: Travel. Enjoying the journey. Going the distance. Endurance. Stamina and pacing.
CHALLENGES: Lack of self-care. Forgetting to nourish yourself. Lack of stability (always moving). Can’t tell if you’re coming or going.
Spirit Animal Camel offers the gifts of endurance, pacing and enjoying the journey.
Spirit Animal Camel’s primary gift is that of enjoying the journey. Camel reminds you that life is a journey, and the journey is the thing. It’s not the finishing. It’s not the arriving. There is no destination. There is only the journey. You are always departing and always arriving. From one moment to the next, everything is both a departure and an arrival. The key is to be in the moment, to be fully in the journey.
Most people believe that when they have a higher degree, a better job, an increased level of income, a bigger house, a better relationship . . . then they’ll be happy. They will have “arrived.”
Camel remind you that arrival is an illusion, a mirage. You can’t wait to happy—or fulfilled or joyful or at peace. Happiness—and everything else—comes by way of the journey. Not at the end. Not on arrival. During. If Camel is your spirit animal, remind yourself—write it down and put it where you’ll see it every day—”the journey is the thing.”
The journey is the thing.
Too often, humans give into the fear of missing out and the fear of vulnerability and, as a result, try to skip the journey. For these fears in particular, the journey is not the thing. But Camel teaches that the journey is a thing to experience and even to love.
Camel’s endurance makes is especially adept at going on a journey—regardless of how long or how arduous. The length and difficulty of the journey are irrelevant to Camel. Camel doesn’t ask, “How long?” or “How hard?” Camel only asks, “When are we going?”
Camel also offers the gift of pacing, which ties into the conservation of energy. Camels can travel long distances without drinking much water. But this is due to Camel’s physical make-up and to wise preparation before the journey. Use Camel medicine not only to move through the journey, but also to prepare adequately for a journey. You will enjoy it more, the more you are prepared.
Many spiritual teachers preach that there is no such thing as lack, that lack is an illusion. Camel teaches that physical lack can be a reality. It can be the truth. In the spiritual plane, there is no lack. In the physical plane, where you lie now, there very well may be lack. (Look at what is happening more and more all over the world from climate change, resulting in lack of ice, lack of clean water, lack of food. That is real.) The spiritual lesson is not to ignore physical lack. That would be Pollyannish. The lesson is to learn how to manage lack. Camel teaches that one way to manage or mitigate lack is by preparing for it—not by hoarding, but by conserving and using wisely your resources.
(While this is not a Camel lesson, another way to mitigate lack would be to take steps to prevent lack. For one bold idea about accomplishing this, please see the E.O. Wilson Foundation’s Half-Earth Project, supported by, among others, singer-songwriter Paul Simon, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and New York Times columnist and bestselling author Tom Friedman—and me. )